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REALTY MARKET STABILIZING AS INVENTORY SHRINKS, PUGET SOUND MULTIPLE LISTING ASSOCIATION SAYS

 REALTY MARKET STABILIZING AS INVENTORY SHRINKS,
 PUGET SOUND MULTIPLE LISTING ASSOCIATION SAYS
 KIRKLAND, Wash., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Residential real estate inventory continues to shrink, prices remain relatively stable, while sales reported for October may reflect some election jitters as well as lingering doubts about jobs and the economy, according to a report released today by the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association, (PSMLA).
 "The market is obviously stabilizing," said Michael Waggoner, chairman of PSMLA and owner of the Northeast office of Windermere Real Estate. Several indicators are outperforming last year, he observed, noting 1992 continues to be a recovery year.
 "Motivated sellers are more realistic about pricing, interest rates remain attractive, and both buyers and sellers are exhibiting more confidence in the economy," according to Waggoner. One positive indicator he cites is the inventory of available properties, which he believes reflects adjustments resulting from the removal of overpriced homes.
 Inventory, which now numbers 20,136 residential properties, remains plentiful, although the total is at its lowest level since February. Asking prices for the area's listings are down about $8,600, or 3.8 percent, from a year ago. October's average of $219,211 for the three-county area is up slightly from September's figure of $216,999.
 King County's average price for current listings, at $234,576, shows the most variance. This average listing price rose somewhat from September's figure of $231,136, but is off about $9,600 (3.9 percent) from a year ago.
 Although strong sales activity is reported in several areas within PSMLA's three-county area, members registered a modest overall total of 2,150 pending sales of single-family homes and condominiums during October. That figure is about the same volume of a year ago, but represents a 27-percent decline (a drop of 805 transactions) compared to September's activity.
 Prices on pending sales are virtually unchanged from the previous month and figures of a year ago. For the area overall, the average price for pending sales is $165,152, which compares to $165,779 for the same period a year ago, and $166,235 for the previous month. Averages range from a low of $145,156 in northern Pierce County to a high of $170,916 in King County.
 Snohomish County, with an average of $150,789, reports the greatest price fluctuation. October's figure is down about $7,250 (a dip of 4.8 percent) from the previous month, but up more than $3,600 (2.5 percent) from the same period last year.
 Closed sales also revealed mixed signals. Closings fell across all three counties by a total of 859 units (24.4 percent) compared to September, but the figure marks an 18.3-percent improvement (413 units) over year-ago sales. Waggoner attributes the gain to a combination of fair pricing and favorable financing options.
 Year-to-date closings of residential and condominium homes continue to outpace 1991's volume. Through the end of October, 27,550 closings have been logged, which represents about 4,000 (or 17 percent) more sales than for the same period last year.
 Open house activity remains strong, Waggoner reports, notably at homes priced under $200,000. Seasonal slowdowns are expected, but the outlook for 1993 is optimistic. He cites the financial market's initial reaction to the election, the continued availability of financing and realistic pricing as factors that will contribute to upward trends.
 The Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association, headquartered in Kirkland, is an independent nonprofit organization with 670 offices and approximately 9,600 sales associates.
 -0- 11/5/92
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Statistical reports available upon request. Call 206-869-5839/
 /CONTACT: Michael Waggoner of the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association, 206-820-5151; or Cheri Brennan of Alliance Communications, 206-869-5839, for the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association/ CO: Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association ST: Washington IN: SU:


LM-SW -- SE012 -- 8015 11/05/92 20:11 EST
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